Ferrari's Carlos Sainz led his team mate Charles Leclerc in a Ferrari 1-2 in the second practice for the French Grand Prix, but championship runaway leader Max Verstappen delivered an impressive race run on high fuel at the end of the session.
Carlos Sainz endured a lengthy delay to the FP2 as Ferrari mounted its new, innovative floor to his car in between the two Friday practices after the Spaniard completed the opening practice with the old configuration. The Madrid-born then had a different approach to his second practice as he started the session on the soft tyre, completing three hot laps before switching to the yellow-banded medium rubber for his race run.
The Spaniard who is carrying a minimum 10-place grid penalty into Sunday’s race for exceeding power unit components, set a time of 1m32.527s to outpace his team mate Leclerc by 0.101s.
Max Verstappen, who also started his second practice with a 15-minute delay was half a second adrift in third place for Red Bull. The Dutchman complained about understeer after his first hot lap. Although Red Bull made some changes after his first flying lap before the reigning champion went for a second push lap, he could not improve his own benchmark.
When it came to the race pace tough, Verstappen was over half a second faster than the Ferrari and the Mercedes drivers, indicating that Red Bull sacrificed the Dutchman’s setup in order to maximize the race pace which will be crucial in the heat at long Paul Ricard track that includes a series of long medium-speed corners.
Verstappen’s team mate Sergio Perez ended the session down in P10 after struggling for the right balance on his hot lap, but the Mexican’s race pace was definitely better. Mercedes occupied the fourth and fifth place in the second practice with George Russell having clocked a time of 1m33.291s that was over seven tenths of a second slower than what Sainz managed.
His team mate Lewis Hamilton returned to action in FP2 after handing his W13 over to reigning Formula E world champion Nyck de Vries in the opening 60-minute session. The Briton was over two tenths of a second slower than his young team mate.
Lando Norris led the midfield pack with Pierre Gasly following the Bristol-born driver. Haas driver Kevin Magnussen made good use of his team’s upgrades, setting the eighth fastest lap time. The American team originally planned to introduce an upgrade package at the Hungarian Grand Prix, but it brought a new front wing to France which features a new endplate design.
Alpine has failed to impress on home soil so far despite introducing modifications to its floor design. Fernando Alonso ended the session in P11 while his French team mate Esteban Ocon finished down in P18 over two seconds adrift of Sainz.
Aston Martin has set the target of better understanding the upgrades it introduced back at the British Grand Prix. Sebastian Vettel, who got behind the wheel of a 1922 Bamford & Martin TT1 for demonstration runs, set the 13th fastest time while his team mate Lance Stroll finished two places further behind.
Alexander Albon failed to replicate his impressive speed from FP1, clocking the 16th fastest time with his team mate Nicholas Latifi rounding out the leaderboard in P20.
|3||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Rbpt||1:33.077||+0.550s||17|
|6||4||Lando Norris||Mclaren Mercedes||1:33.607||+1.080s||21|
|7||10||Pierre Gasly||Alphatauri Rbpt||1:33.906||+1.379s||24|
|8||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||1:33.928||+1.401s||24|
|9||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Mclaren Mercedes||1:33.984||+1.457s||23|
|10||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing Rbpt||1:34.060||+1.533s||16|
|11||14||Fernando Alonso||Alpine Renault||1:34.259||+1.732s||24|
|12||77||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:34.264||+1.737s||27|
|13||5||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:34.420||+1.893s||27|
|14||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Alphatauri Rbpt||1:34.540||+2.013s||24|
|15||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:34.595||+2.068s||26|
|16||23||Alexander Albon||Williams Mercedes||1:34.653||+2.126s||23|
|17||24||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:34.654||+2.127s||26|
|18||31||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault||1:34.660||+2.133s||26|
|19||47||Mick Schumacher||Haas Ferrari||1:35.195||+2.668s||22|
|20||6||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes||1:35.412||+2.885s||26|